These posts come from several sources. The blog gains its name from the book Steele's Answers published in 1912. I am slowly blogging through Steele's Answers, posting each Q & A in the order in which they appear (whether I personally agree with the answer or not). I also post particularly eloquent passages from Dr. Steele's other writings. Occasionally I post "guest blogs" from other holiness writers.

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Sholuld People Be Compelled to Do Right?

QUESTION: Is  it in accord with a sanctified life to compel people in a public place to do right, when they are not willing to do right otherwise?

ANSWER: True virtue must be free; it cannot be compelled. But decent behavior in a public meeting may be righteously required by calling on the police in the last resort, and both the preacher and the police who collars the disturber may be entirely sanctified.

Steele's Answers p. 139, 140.

Friday, April 18, 2014

Sin as a State or Condition

QUESTION: Give Scripture references where sin is used to designate a state or condition and not an act.

ANSWER: Rom. 3:9, "they are all under sin," as explained in verses 10-18. Verses 10-13 inclusive denote a state, as also verse 18. Rom. 6:1, "continue in sin." Here the verb implies a state. The next verse, "we who died to sin, how can we any longer live therein?" The words "live therein" must relate to a state of sin rather than an act. Sin is sometimes used to denote the source whence the evil acts proceed; hence II Thess. 2:3, "man of sin," a man in such a condition that he seems unable to live without sin; also Rom. 5:21, 6:12, "Sin reigned." Here Paul is thinking of sin as a state which he personifies, as he does in Rom. 7:23 and 8:2, "law of sin." The same is true of Rom. 6:6, "in bondage to sin." Christ conceives of sin as a condition in John 8:34, "the bond servant (Greek, slave) of sin."

Steele's Answers p. 139.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Is Baptism Necessary to Salvation?

QUESTION: Does this verse teach that water baptism is necessary to salvation, "He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved"?

ANSWER: The rest of the verse (Mark 16:16), "but he that disbelieveth shall be condemned," makes unbelief the sole cause of condemnation. Water baptism is not saving, but contempt of it is damning. An involuntary absence of it, as in the case of the thief converted on the cross, cannot be the ground of condemnation.

Steele's Answers pp 138, 139.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Why Do Pastors Stand to Pray?

QUESTION: Why is it that so many preachers stand when they pray?

ANSWER: Some are of "the standing order," having been educated to pray in that posture, as were the ancient Jews and the modern Calvinists. It is said that the Puritans caught cold on Plymouth Rock and it settled in their knees. But this does not account for the stiff-kneed Methodist preachers. Some of them stand because, Zaccheus like, they are too short to be seen by the people, if they kneel behind the pulpit; others are embarrassed by having to stoop down to adjust the kneeling stool, and others think the pos­ture of the body is indifferent so long as they tell God that they come to him on the bended knees of their souls, "as though souls have knees!"

Steele's Answers p. 138.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Should a Preacher Wear a Ring?

QUESTION: Is it right for a minister of the Gospel to wear a ring on his finger?

ANSWER: It is certainly not in good taste, nor does it seem to be Pauline for a man if it is forbidden to a woman. If it is a superfluity for a lady it is a super-superfluity for a gentleman, especially while pleading for money to feed the starving or to evangelize the heathen. It would not be right for me to be flourishing rings in the pulpit. The Lord has not "appointed me to be judge of my brother's conscience in this matter.

Steele's Answers p. 138.

Monday, April 14, 2014

A Sorry Set of Christians

QUESTION: Explain I Cor. 14:40, "Let all things be done decently and in order."

ANSWER: "I should loth to minister to such a sorry set of Christians as were the Corinthians. Wrangling about Paul, Apollos and Cephas, full of envying and strife, running after false teachers, harboring an incestuous person without discipline, degrading the Lord's supper into a drunken banquet, giving to Paul constant sorrow, these Corinthians needed miracles to give them respectable title to the Christian name; and they so abused miraculous gifts by jealousy and contention that they turned their Sabbath assemblies into cabals of men and women, shouting, singing, praying, prophesying, pell-mell, without decency or order." These words of Dr. Joseph P. Thompson show why Paul gave this precept about becoming behavior in public worship.

Steele's Answers p 137.

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Fit for Heaven?

QUESTION: If inbred sin is merely a hereditary tendency to sin, is the soul that is regenerated but without the experience of entire sanctification fit for heaven?

ANSWER; The new birth entitles to the adoption of sons and to life everlasting. "If children, then heirs of God," etc. Heirship gives the title, but does not give the complete fitness. This must be sought by the believer. If while seeking completed holiness he sud­denly dies, he is saved by virtue of the new covenant in which God promises to save all who perseveringly trust in him. The truth is, everyone who loves God in the first degree desires what John calls perfect love initiated by entire sanctification, and that this state of grace is the heritage of every infant cut off in infancy and of every soul born of God and called to Christ. This is an inference from all the promises made by a covenant-keeping God, and not a special revelation found in the Holy Scriptures which would almost certainly have been abused.

Steele's Answers pp. 136,137.

Friday, April 11, 2014

Sancification and Regeneration in 1 John 1:9

QUESTION: Would not I John 1:9 alone, "If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness," naturally teach entire sanctification when regenerated, to one who is free from all preconceptions?

ANSWER: Perhaps it would, if he had failed to note the prayers for the entire cleansing of those who are already children of God and the exhortations to Christians to go on unto perfection. But an observant Greek reader would understand from the two verbs of different meaning in the aorist tense that two distinct and decisive works are to be done. Even Alford, who is not friendly to the doctrine of Christian perfection as taught by his brother churchman, John Wesley, admits that "to cleanse from all unrighteousness is plainly distinguished from to forgive us our sins; distinguished as a further process; as, in a word, sanctification distinct from justification. The two verbs are aorists, because the purpose and faithfulness and justice of God are to do each as one great complex act — to justify and to sanctify wholly and entirely." He says, "to do each," not both together, as one great act. In 1737 the Wesleys discovered "that men are justified before they are sanctified."

Steele's Answers p. 135, 136.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Entire Sanctification and Pentecost

QUESTION: Does not Acts 2:39 teach that the three thousand were entirely sanctified at Pentecost?

ANSWER: Acts 15:9 is an undoubted proof text of this experience in the case of the Apostles and other disciples. The fulness of the Spirit is sometimes emotional rather than sanctifying. This is often the case when the Spirit descends upon a multitude, filling them with joy, entirely sanctifying those who are aspiring after this grace and regenerating penitent seekers of pardon and convicting sinners. The spirit of adoption crying in the heart, "Abba, Father," fills the convert with a feeling of fullness. For these reasons, Wesley did not employ this phrase, "Fullness of the Spirit," to denote entire sanctification, although he used at least a score of synonymous terms to denote this experience.

Steele's Answers p. 134, 135.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Job's Afflictions

QUESTION: How long did Job's afflictions last?

ANSWER: Our only means of knowing is to infer from the intensity of Job's sufferings that they continued only a few days or weeks at the most.

Steele's Answers p. 134.